Zune HD gets free 3D games

Have a Zune HD? Well, you should now be able to put the 3D capabilities of the player’s Tegra system-on-a-chip to the test. As Engadget reports, Microsoft has added a handful of free 3D games to the Zune Marketplace today.

In the words of the Microsoft press release, titles include:

  • Audiosurf Tilt: Audiosurf creates a rollercoaster ride from any song. Choose any song from your music collection and watch Audiosurf turn it into a unique roller coaster track for you to ride. The song you choose determines the shape, the speed, and the mood of each track. Tilt your Zune like a steering wheel to collect colored blocks and avoid speedbumps. Unlock more than 30 designs, each with its own special theme and color palette.
  • Checkers: Enjoy the classic game of Checkers in a beautiful outdoor park setting. Play against the computer or against a friend.
  • Lucky Lanes Bowling: Bowl in different game modes: exhibition, blackjack, golf. Play in five different bowling alleys with unique themes, all with the swipe of a finger. Choose from twenty different bowlers and twenty two different ball styles. You can play against the computer or play with up to four friends.
  • Piano: Play your own tune, or play along with your favorite music on this electronic piano.
  • Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition: Tear through the streets of London, Tokyo, and New York in the Ferrari of your choice using multi touch controls and the built in accelerometer.
  • Vans Sk8: Pool Service: From the Admiral to the old abandoned rec center pool, Bucky Lasek and Omar Hassan know a good bowl to skate. Hit the pools and put these Vans skaters to the test with all the tricks in their bag and achieve hero status once you unlock their pro model skateboards.

Much like iPhone and iPod touch games, these games use multi-touch input and the device’s accelerometer as controls. You don’t have to pay anything to download and play, although you will have to deal with a "short ad at start-up." Oh, and if you’re interested, you’ll want to grab the latest Zune HD firmware that came out this weekend first.

Why would Microsoft start putting 3D games on a handheld music and video player? A visit to the iPod touch page on Apple’s website ought to be a good hint. Apple has been promoting the iPod touch as the "funnest iPod ever" and "a great portable game player" for some time now, and in a recent keynote speech, it even went so far as to claim more games are available for the iPhone OS platform than for the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS.

Comments closed
    • eitje
    • 13 years ago

    I know they both RUN. The issue is the screen height on the DS (192 lines) is less than the minimum lines for SNES and Genesis games (both 224 lines).

    §[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Nintendo_Entertainment_System#Video<]§ §[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sega_genesis#Video<]§ The PSP is a better choice, since it has 272 lines of vertical resolution, thus allowing SNES & Genesis games to fit completely on the screen w/o trimming. §[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psp#Hardware<]§

    • tocatl
    • 13 years ago

    in DS ,Genesis runs fine, SNES had odd sound bug issues thats why it doesnt work as good.

    • thecoldanddarkone
    • 13 years ago

    And your link for proof, and it better not be apple insider.

    • zima
    • 13 years ago

    This.

    Tegra has currently quite weak CPU, in comparison to some other SoCs available. And for some reason one of the promoted features is HD playback…why? It’s useless on such small screens. And transcoding on-the-fly to lower resolution + transmitting the small resulting file will be, on current mainstream CPUs, probably faster than transmitting the HD version (due to USB2 bottleneck). Nvm lower space & battery usage…

    It almost seems like a scam (at least of the magnitude of shiny surfaces on handheld devices, which look good only when…not touched; not used)

    • eitje
    • 13 years ago

    Threading in C# is ridiculously simple. It becomes even easier when you consider that the XNA framework was specifically designed with multiple cores in mind (the Xbox360 is triple-core, after all).

    §[<http://www.google.com/search?q=+site:www.ziggyware.com+xna+threading<]§ Finally, don't argue that a single-core, 2 IPS will be 100% efficient. That is patently untrue. There will be bubbles in any pipeline, no matter how wide or deep it is. §[<http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2002/10/hyperthreading.ars/2<]§

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    You can argue that point, sure, but you can’t argue that it’s much easier to code non threaded games/applications.

    You also forgot that no matter how well optimized your multi threaded code is, it will never be 100% efficient. That same game running single threaded on the Cortex A8 will give you double the performance with 100% efficiency due to its 2 instructions per clock ability.

    Adi

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    OH NOEZ

    Adi

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    That’s an informal review with no benchmarks whatsoever. There is nothing there that compared image quality or that quantifies it in ways to make it easy to compare. Have you seen any of the games optimized for the new PowerVR SGX chip in the 3rd gen iPod Touch or the iPhone 3GS ? One could argue the same thing about them.

    Adi

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    You have no idea what you’re talking about.

    The Tegra has 2 ARM11 cores each processing 1 instruction per clock. I couldn’t find what speed they’re running in the Zune so I’ll take the 600 Mhz from it’s spec sheet.

    The iPod Touch 3rd gen uses a since core Cortex A8 ARM CPU that does 2 instructions per clock and it runs at 600 Mhz.

    No matter how efficient your multi threaded code is, it will never be 100% and there for, assuming the Tegra chip runs at 600 Mhz, the iPod Touch will always yeld better CPU performance.

    So much for that RDF, huh ?

    Adi

    • Helmore
    • 13 years ago

    The NVIDIA Tegra chip does not have a 2 CPU cores, only one. It is a slower CPU than what’s in the iPhone 3GS, because Tegra currently still has an ARM11 based core. It’s the graphics part on Tegra that make it shine.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 13 years ago

    What, what an awesome RDF way to spin against a dual core processor. As soon as an Apple product of a similar type gets a dual core I’m sure you’ll reverse your position.

    • eitje
    • 13 years ago

    it’s actually pretty easy to build games for the Zune HD’s multiple processing cores, with the XNA framework.

    • eitje
    • 13 years ago

    The DS is a poor choice for SNES & Genesis emulation, since its screens do not have the full vertical resolution required to display games from that era w/o some kind of compression or trimming.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 13 years ago

    It can emulate N64 and PS1? Because the PSP can, the psp even has legitimate ps1 games from psn.

    Also you didn’t answer my controls argument.

    • xtalentx
    • 13 years ago

    I wouldn’t waste your time responding to anything adisor19 has to write. He is a so blinded by his Apple zelotry (is that a word?) that he won’t listen to facts.

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 13 years ago

    in for a bit of bubble bursting

    “That Tegra chip is no joke — the graphics in PGR: Ferrari Edition are easily on par with the PSP and quite possible better, with intricate textures, high-quality reflections, and smooth framerates.”

    Source: iEngadget. 😀

    • Arag0n
    • 13 years ago

    §[<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcpgU_I-H-w<]§ §[<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reZLsJAzO1c<]§ there is an example of one of the games. EDIT: I found another one.

    • ltcommander.data
    • 13 years ago

    Apple’s advantage is still numbers though. Out of 22,000+ games, even if 97% of iPhone games are terrible and only 3% half decent, you would already get the 600 half decent games as in the PSP. The iPhone/Touch would also have capabilities other than just gaming. The most important thing about Apple’s devices as a gaming platform is that they are what you are most likely to have on you, a cell phone or mp3 player. I think the convenience factor will be very important for a lot of people in determining where they spend their gaming time.

    • albundy
    • 13 years ago

    your lucky it even has color.

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 13 years ago

    a jailbroken iPod touch can do the same. 😀

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 13 years ago

    “Games have to be coded to take advantage of the dual cores inside so already that’s a hurdle for any developer and a hint as to why MS is not opening it up to third parties.. ”

    All the current games are developed by 3rd parties. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 13 years ago

    Plus, the DS and PSP can be easily cracked to play all the SNES and earlier games your heart desires (and they have better controls for games). With the PSP it even becomes N64 and earlier.

    • adisor19
    • 13 years ago

    LOL sure it is 🙂

    Games have to be coded to take advantage of the dual cores inside so already that’s a hurdle for any developer and a hint as to why MS is not opening it up to third parties.. Compare this to the iPod touch 3rg gen’s CPU that does 2 instructions per clock with no need to force devs into learning how to multi thread their software. As for the 3D engine in the Tegra, the word is still out on that as to how it compares to the PowerVR SGX part in the iPod Touch.

    Adi

    • no51
    • 13 years ago

    haha

    • ironoutsider
    • 13 years ago

    Yes, but can it play crysis?

    • xtalentx
    • 13 years ago

    Agreed 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.10 characters!

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 13 years ago

    “Why would Microsoft start putting 3D games on a handheld music and video player?”

    Why would Apple put a strongly capable Nvidia chipset with a better GPU than the intel IGP on their latest Core 2 Duo, Core i5/i7 products when their OS can’t play the latest -[

    • drfish
    • 13 years ago

    Agreed! A very smart idea, I came here to post just that.

    • wykd
    • 13 years ago

    ZuneHD is a much better device than anything Apple has to offer (imo).

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    22,000 crappy games versus 3000+ middling-good for the DS and 600+ middling-good for the PSP.

    ZuneHD is irrelevant though, as it’s not available to buy anywhere relevant to me.

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 13 years ago

    Audiosurf is a very sensible addition to an MP3 player.

    • khands
    • 13 years ago

    It’s easy to have more games when most of it is crappy homebrew, but I digress.

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